by Miami Herald’s Mary Ellen Klas
June 6, 2017
After a bitter and contentious debate, the powerful Constitution Revision Commission that will place amendments on the November 2018 ballot ended the impasse that has hampered its work for months and adopted a new set of rules on Tuesday.
The panel voted 20 to 11, with six members absent, to approve a set of guidelines for how they will decide on what amendments will go directly on the November 2018 ballot. Drafted by Brecht Heuchan, a Tallahassee political consultant and appointee of Gov. Rick Scott, the proposal uses as its framework the rules adopted by the CRC when it last met 20 years ago.
But the seemingly simple task of writing rules in the absence of rules created rifts in the Republican-controlled panel, exposed power struggles between the governor’s appointees and everybody else, and quickly became a show of personalities.
Carlos Beruff, the Bradenton businessman appointed to the panel by Scott — who hopes to also be on the November ballot as a candidate for U.S. Senate — vexed his muscle.
During the two-hour meeting, several commissioners raised a “point of order,” asked a question or offered a alternative approach to letting Heuchan’s proposal be the only one before the commission.
But, Beruff declared: “there are no rules.” When he was challenged, he then made up and applied his own set of rules as he went along. [READ MORE]